While Black Friday and Cyber Monday can mean stellar sales for your small business, returns are still seen as a sore point for entrepreneurs and business owners. Data shows that the value of returns circles around $400 billion, which is a 53% increase from 2015. To stay ahead of the curve, smart business owners are not only paying attention to their return process, but also using it to entice new and repeat sales.
Don’t view it as a loss; view ‘return season’ as an example to further highlight your customer service and build trust
According to data from SmartInsights, an inconvenient return policy can deter up to 80 percent of consumers. View the lost profit of a return less as a loss, but as an unavoidable cost of doing business and a new opportunity to engage with your customer. Smart entrepreneurs see returns as an opportunity to further engage customers, build trust and ultimately increase the potential for a future sale.
Make your return policy as transparent as possible very early on in the sales funnel. Proactively share information customers need to initiate a return, track shipping of a returned product and learn the status of their refund. Remember, customers will pay (more than you realize) for convenience. The staggering rise of the home grocery delivery industry is a prime example. If consumers feel their time is not valued, their affinity towards your brand will plummet.
Use a text message to confirm a return has been received or send a customer an alert when their refund has been processed. Proactively provide them with a tracking number through an SMS message. This will show that you value their time and appreciate their business long term.
Use the return process as an opportunity to capture customer feedback
Customer feedback is incredibly valuable for any small business owner. It empowers you to learn more about your customer’s pain points, more easily identify their needs and ultimately help you build and scale your business. The return process is a blessing in disguise for just that - it provides you with the opportunity to learn why a customer returned a specific item and what their future needs are.
Nothing proves to your clients they are important more than asking for their opinion. When asked for feedback on a product or experience, customers feel valued and are ultimately being treated as part of a holistic sales experience. It empowers them to be a part of the creative process in helping you build a strong business for the future.
Just because your customer is returning a product now, doesn't mean they won't be a future prospect. In actuality, providing a customer with a seamless return experience can actually improve their chances of returning. It empowers them to see your brand as a positive entity to engage with in the future. By staying transparent throughout the return process, customers have a sense of ease in buying future products. It assures them that you respect their time and appreciate their business long term.